A/N: It's been a while since I've put out anything for the Rurouni Kenshin fandom (although I do have the Kenshin x Kaoru 30Kisses claim at Livejournal, so you may see some KK drabbles from me soon).
I've always wanted to try my hand at the Saitou/Tokio story, and though I know it is overdone, I hope you will read it and let me know what you think. Feedback is always appreciated.
Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin; it belongs to its respective companies, and I am making no profit from this story.
Note: I have used some Japanese words in this story that are not commonly known so that the story will flow better. There are also names from history dropped into the story. Each name/word is marked with numbers and have translations at the end of the story. Also, this story shall be a two-parter.
The Spring of Summer
Part One: Gold In Her Hair
Much like sake generously poured, Kyoto was always filled to the brim with life – even when lives were taken in its streets. Though mothers shut in their children after the daylight hours, the quiet of the city coursed with energy and sometimes literally bubbled with the blood of men.
In the eyes of the Shinsengumi, even a place of countless deaths was still a place of goodness. Kyoto may as well have been considered hallowed ground for the large amount of respect it was given. Souls came and went each day in this city like winter turned to spring each year.
Tonight there was no killing, or at least very little. It was not possible, after all, to go a whole night without death during a war. But the hate and the evil had ebbed for tonight, and Saito could not say why. Some warriors in the Shinsengumi – Okita Souji for instance – regarded this dark era of theirs with an aesthetic sense. Okita liked to compare men to stars; always burning but constantly dimming.
Saitou Hajime disagreed. There was nothing beautiful about their era. When blood poured down even more than rain, to accept the world as something to be admired was nothing more than denial. As for men, Okita was mistaken there as well. Men were incapable of being constant. Too often their loyalties fell to be replaced by fear. Try as they might, even stars were not immortal. Surely Okita, of all people, had begun to realize that. Or perhaps the naivety that he had kept for nearly ten years now stopped him from having hardly any realism about life.
Sharing Okita's age of twenty, Saitou's thoughts were well beyond his time. His frame of mind would depress any optimist, but it was perfect for the samurai leader of the Shinsengumi's Third Division. For if he was going to survive challenging the Ishin-Shishi for the sake of the Shogunate, he would need a pessimistic outlook on life. Defying tradition, as the Shinsengumi did, meant two things: glory or death. Very few men received the first. Very lucky men received both. All men received the second.
"And what are you thinking of so seriously?"
Saitou kept walking with his unit, but he acknowledged Okita with a small glance from his golden eyes. "Nothing," he replied tersely.
"Nothing?" The young leader of the First Division smiled widely. "On a night so rare? We get to relax tonight and yet you say you think of nothing." He laughed cheerily. "You are a liar, Saitou-kun."
"I concern myself with myself," the taller man said at length. "Perhaps you should do the same."
"How cold," remarked Okita. "Unfortunately, I'm not allowed the leisure. I came to tell you that I have decided that we shall stay in the Sumiya Inn for the next few days."
Saitou straightened his broad shoulders. "I heard we would be moving into Aizu before long."
"Kashitaro-sama (1) believes the Aizu Clan is not so in need of protection that three whole units should be there. Nagakura-kun (2) is taking care of them presently, and the Second Division is good enough for now. Besides," murmured Okita, "there is a more pressing matter just starting to need our attention."
His dismal tone interested Saitou. "Such as?" But Saitou did not get an answer because Okita suddenly halted. Saitou did the same, and the two squads that followed them ceased walking.
"Here we are, Saitou-kun." Okita's voice was merry again as he looked up at a two-story ryokan (3). "Let us rest and eat. This day has been long, and we need to take care of ourselves." Despite his easy-going words, a sudden paleness came over him, and a coughing fit overwhelmed him. He clutched his hand to his mouth, and Saitou could see thin lines of blood being caught in his palm. It was a sad thing to see Okita Souji suffer. The strength he had inside him was shamed in the face of his illness. "I promise," he said with ragged breath after it had passed, "to tell you more later."
Not wishing to disagree with him while the perspiration of his pain still gleamed upon his skin, Saitou nodded. "Very well." He promptly led his men into the ryokan and gave them his permission to do as they wished. Though there were sure to be many female servants working in this ryokan, Saitou's men were much like him – low-key and detached. Unlike him, however, they were quite content to forget about the war, if only for tonight.
When the ryokan's okami (4) approached him and bowed her gray head, Saitou hid the hilt of his katana with the wide gape of his sleeve. He did not do this to keep her from alarm – he cared nothing for this old woman with her graying hair and open palm – but it was less annoying when they were not thought of as simple murderers. Seeing his sword might have made her frightened of him.
"Saitou-sama," the aging woman said warmly, "I have prepared private dining quarters so that you and Okita-sama may talk. If you will follow me."
He went with her to a back room on the ground floor. It was a small and seemingly new room. Since the hotel was quite old, Saitou assumed that the place was just not often used.
"Okita-sama will arrive shortly. I will have sake brought in while you wait," the okami told him as she kneeled and slid the door shut behind her, leaving him alone.
Saitou seated himself on a floor cushion behind a low table, crossing his legs in front of him. He felt tired in body alone, and though sleep would soon be needed, his mind was charged with an unusual energy. It was this alertness that made him such a formidable opponent; however, it did him no good if his physical and mental self were not in accord.
Shutting his eyes, he performed a personal analysis of himself and found nearly every muscle lined with tension. His head throbbed from the tightness of his high ponytail, and his eyes were too happy to be closed after so many sleepless nights. Saitou took a deep breath – he was letting himself weaken.
"Pour him sake first. Stay until his partner comes, and then fetch their food. I daresay you know the rest?"
The scratchy voice of the okami broke Saitou off from his thoughts, and his eyes opened once more. The rice paper door featured two silhouettes.
The reply that came was short, obedient, and softly-spoken. "Yes, ma'am." That voice was like a bell tinkling in the wind compared to that of her harsh employer's.
"Girls who do not perform their tasks as women should are thrown out from under roofs and onto the streets. And these are troubling times to be on the streets. Am I clear?" Saitou thought that the old okami's warm façade was badly maintained. No one who saw yen pass into their hand as she did was completely kind.
There was no argument from the other, nor was there even any defense. There was only another gentle "Yes, ma'am," and one of them walked away. Judging by the weight of the footfalls, Saitou guessed it was the old woman.
He was correct, for in time the rice paper door slid back. If he had considered what the servant might look like before she entered, it was not this. A young woman was revealed, but she was not so young that she was outside of Saitou's generation. He estimated her age to be eighteen. She was of medium height, and because Saitou was so tall and because she angled her head so far toward her feet, he was not allowed a good view of her face. He did see the top of her head as she set down a tray to close the door. When she bowed, he noticed that, while the black of her hair was as dark as that of any other Japanese woman's, there were streaks of gold from the sun. They were thin streaks, only a few strands were light, and they were subtle even though they were distinguishing. Saitou almost wished she would not straighten from her bow so that he might examine her hair further.
She said nothing to him as she took up her glossed tray again. She rose gracefully and walked with her face always lowered in respect. Or it might have been shyness and fear, Saitou estimated. Though she didn't appear incredibly young, she was still quite new.
As she kneeled on the other side of his small table, Saitou finally had a view of her face. While she focused on setting his table with a shining cup and sake bottle, he had time to notice that she was like porcelain, white as rice, and there was a delicate point to her chin. The lean slope of her nose suggested nobility, but that would have been impossible for a simple inn servant. Thick black lashes grazed her cheeks, and she always watched her hands, which were steady and quick and she poured sake for him.
Once his cup was filled, she moved off, sitting modestly against the wall with her hands clasped on her thighs and her head bowed. Saitou said nothing to her.
Yet, interestingly enough, he found himself watching her as he sipped his rice wine. She wore a kimono of deep greens and blues that shimmered with its patterns of swirls that were meant to depict sea waves. It would have been an expensive garment, and he wondered where a servant might have procured such a fine thing.
"How is your sake?"
Saitou's eyebrows rose slightly. She sat so motionlessly and with so much silence that if he had not been looking at her, he would not have known where the voice had come from.
Though he might have brushed off the question with a simple "It's fine" and then returned to his preferred state of speechlessness, Saitou lowered his cup and murmured, "Well enough for one as I." It seemed like a modest statement, but Saitou was only being honest. As far as he was concerned, samurai did not need their drink to taste good as long as it quenched their thirst.
The servant's reply was no louder than his own. "Something troubles you?"
"No. I am a Wolf of Mibu." Saitou took a drink, held it in his mouth briefly, then swallowed hard. "I trouble others."
She nodded acknowledgement. "Excuse me," she said, although she had not overstepped any boundaries.
He shrugged his broad shoulders, which meant the subject was dropped. Saitou held out his cup so she could pour him more sake.
In that moment the door slid open again, and Okita entered. He laughed when he saw his comrade. "Saitou Hajime, reaching out to a woman? I thought I'd never see the day." With a chuckle for his own little joke, he walked in and saw the woman more closely. "Servant, bring food! This man is starved to unusual actions!" She rose gracefully and bowed. When she passed him, he turned and called, "Servant, come back again." Okita smiled and turned her face upward with a hand on her chin. Saitou looked away, not wishing to witness any evaluation Okita might perform.
"Ah! What startling eyes!"
Saitou did look at that. Even he was surprised by the odd blend of blue and purple in the girl's eyes, enhanced to brightness by cool hues of her kimono. The girl, however, did not use those eyes on either of them; she kept them turned to the side of Okita.
"Now where," Okita asked with amused curiosity, "does one obtain eyes so rare?"
The girl did not respond at first. Very quietly, with tones so soft even Okita had to strain to hear her, she said: "I have always trusted that they come from my grandfather."
Okita blinked for a second, and then apparently decided her statement was hilarious. Releasing her, he laughed loudly. "I trust this as well, girl! Oh, off with you before I start up." Indeed, he did cough a bit as she left the room to bring their dinner. Saitou began to rise, but Okita held out a hand and kept him in place with the gesture. "It's only an annoyance. There, it's gone." Keeping his smile in place, he joined Saitou at the small table to his right. "Comfortable, Saitou-kun?"
"Restless." Since the girl was not there, Saitou himself poured Okita's sake.
"You would say that." Okita drank and sighed a little as the dryness was relieved from his throat. "How odd it is to think that five years have passed since the night at the Ikedaya. I often feel so many have altered their ways. But Saitou-kun will always be Saitou-kun. He and his Aku Soku Zan."
Saitou laid his palms flat on the table. "What is your news, Okita?"
"So impatient!" But he finished his cup and sobered. "Very well. The times are speeding. This war will not last much longer."
"We have not lost yet."
"No. However…" Okita stared into Saitou with an uncharacteristically serious expression. "The Battousai has returned to Kyoto."
"Choshu's most valuable asset. If the Ishin-Shishi has any hope of restoring the Empire, he is it." Okita accepted more sake, but his cup sat unused. "He is a threat, Saitou-kun."
"I've not yet met him," Saitou admitted.
"You will. He tries to stay quiet, but he's too recognizable. Bright red hair and a new scar shaped like a cross on his left cheek. When I met him two years ago, I couldn't even touch him. It must have been a strong one that made that scar."
"Hm." Saitou had heard the rumors of the hitokiri known as Battousai. It was said that nearly all of the Shogunate leaders that had thus far been assassinated had died on the edge of his sword. "We have been in Kyoto for days now. Where has he been?"
"Quite possibly, he's just returned. He has been gone from Kyoto for over a year, laying low or so they say." Okita's weakness for gossip had him grinning. "Rumor has it he's twice as good now."
Saitou didn't react to this except to ask, "When do you think would be the best time to fight him?"
"Saitou-kun, with him, there us no such time as the best." Okita shook his head, and his ponytail loosened a little so that stray strands fell in his face and made him look thirty instead of twenty. If Saitou Hajime was tired, then Okita Souji was exhausted. "I mastered kempo while very young, and yet when I faced his Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, I felt like I'd never held a sword in my life. He cut me that quickly."
Saitou's eyes narrowed at the thought. "But you are stronger now."
A soft chuckle emitted from the smaller man's sallow face. "Yes and no. Ah," he said as the girl with indigo eyes returned. "Here is our meal. This will do me good."
Saitou allowed Okita to change the subject while they ate. The return of the servant girl had caught his attention over even thoughts of the Battousai. Watching her move so carefully had him thinking that he'd seen her before.
He ignored it, and her. He was not in Kyoto to be attentive to women. Saitou was here to kill. When he ate, he ate quickly and without expression. He reminded himself that this food was for fueling the work of a murderer.
"Oh, very good," complimented Okita when the meal was finished. "And now, full as I am, I think I'll go to bed. Saitou-kun, you should relax, have a bath…" A knowing grin came over his face. "And then have this girl serve you."
Saitou's golden eyes hardened so that they were like two coins that glared at the other Shinsengumi captain. "What?"
"I have rented this girl for you." Okita gestured to her, and she bowed. "The company of a woman – I can think of no one else who needs it more. Good night, Saitou-sama."
Okita's laugh, with all of its teasing, was heard clearly as she left them together. It faded down the hall and up the stairs. Saitou studied the girl before setting down his sake cup. Normally, when he made the effort to evaluate the mentality of a person, Saitou did so with ease. In the case of this girl, the Third Division's captain had difficulty getting past the unusual colors of her eyes to the thoughts beyond. Unsettled, he turned his gaze away from her.
"How are the baths here?" he inquired briskly.
She rose from her demure position and walked toward the door to open it for him. "Decent."
He found he was pleased with the honesty of her answer; she did not try to glorify the facilities. "Very well." He never required anything more than decent, anyway. Getting up, he followed her down a long corridor that led to a narrow wooden staircase. She was not slow on the steps but neither was she clumsy. Somehow, she had grown accustomed to two-story houses. Had she worked here long? Saitou let the wondering go as she brought him to a room with a freshly-cleaned futon and a small desk and table. He entered the room in front of her, and she followed him without a noise.
The girl seemed to be waiting for him to do something, and Saitou realized that she expected him to leave his sword in the room. "I do not part with my blade," he told her tersely.
Her eyes widened just slightly, as though she feared making a mistake. Bowing low at the waist, she whispered another quiet "Excuse me" before taking from the futon a towel and stepping out of the room. Saitou followed her into the hall again, down the stairs, and across the garden in the back of the ryokan. There was a small bathhouse, well lit and quite clean, waiting for him. The girl handed him the towel.
"For your use," she explained. "Please take your time to enjoy."
He made a grunt of response and left her kneeling in the doorway. Entering the bathhouse, he saw he was alone, which was how Saitou liked it at any rate.
The bath had been filled with fresh water, and the fire that heated it outside must have been healthy, for the water steamed invitingly. Saitou stripped quickly and submerged his whole body from toes to neck in one, fast motion. There was an initial sting from the hotness of the water, particularly where he had been scarred, but it passed quickly. After a slow exhale he was able to unclench his muscles. The aches in his limbs were soothed by the water, and Saitou rested his head against the side of the tub.
When he shut his eyes, he had expected to see the usual visions: blood gushing from bodies like the spray of sea foam, the soulless eyes of men he'd killed, the hating looks of women, children's grief-stricken faces. He had grown accustomed to those horrors, and they rarely bothered him anymore. But he saw none of those things in his mind right now.
He saw purple and blue, merged together like the color of the sky when it was just after sunset and right before nightfall. The image expanded to the colors becoming two eyes, framed by a delicate face. Caught off-guard, Saitou's eyes opened quickly. In the next moment, those eyes narrowed.
There was no reason for him to be picturing the servant girl standing outside, whether it was consciously or subconsciously. He had first seen her less than two hours ago, which was not a sufficient amount of time for a man to start wondering about a woman.
But Saitou did start to wonder. Part of him kept thinking that he had in fact seen this same woman before, but placing her was a hardship. He felt uncertain, however, because he was fairly sure that he would not forget such strange eyes. Then again, people had said the same about his own eyes.
Not too much later, he stepped out of the tub and quickly toweled himself dry. He was about to reach for his gi when there was a soft knock on the door.
It was the servant girl that Okita had "rented" for him. Walking over with the towel in one hand, he replied gruffly. "What is it?"
"I have brought you a yukata for your use."
She had hardly finished the sentence before he had slid the door open a bit and held out a hand. The girl saw his naked chest (and then she didn't dare move her eyes for risk of seeing other things), and she flushed so quickly that streaks of pink stretched from her nose to her ears. "F-for your use," she repeated, holding out the yukata.
Saitou took the garment from her and noticed that her hands were trembling. Saying nothing, he shut the door again and thought he might have heard the girl sigh in relief. An unexpected smirk came to his lips. That blush had been the liveliest thing about her all evening. At least she had emotions.
After dressing and gathering his belongings, he went out to find the girl bowing with her forehead almost touching the back of her hands. Saitou was surprised by the bow. "What are you doing?" he demanded. The question came out sharply.
"My apologies!" She sounded nearly desperate, but Saitou couldn't be sure since her voice was directed at the ground beneath his feet.
He studied her wordlessly for several moments, during which time she never moved an inch from her subservient position, and then he sighed a bit himself. "You are too worried." Reaching down, he gripped her by the elbow and pulled her to her feet with all the effort it took to pick up a feather. "You have done no wrong by me and have been most helpful," he told her firmly. "Tell your mistress I said so."
Though this Wolf of Mibu knew little about human comfort, he had thought that his words would reassure her. Instead he saw with the dim light the moon provided that tears had welled in her eyes and turned them to liquid. "What?" he snapped.
She shook her head fervently. "It is nothing. But your kindness is—"
Saitou's jaw firmed. He had done nothing particularly goodhearted, as far as he knew, and this girl was crying over it. "Don't think of me as kind, girl. If I am anything, it is not that."
The whole situation seemed greatly familiar to Saitou, but he could not figure out why. He had not been in Kyoto since just after the Ikedaya Affair, and for the last four years the first three divisions of the Shinsengumi had been assigned to the protection of the Aizu Clan. Only recently had Okita and Saitou been relocated to Kyoto, and while it made sense for the Gatotsu user to have never laid eyes upon this servant girl, he was still swamped by feelings of a past encounter with her.
Thoughts zooming back to the present, Saitou saw that at some point he had begun to follow the girl back to his room they now stood before the door. The servant was bowing slightly, which meant that he had the priority of entering, and he did so quickly to make up for his uncharacteristic lack of attentiveness.
"There's no need to address me so formally. 'San' will work fine." He sounded particularly gruff as he ordered this, and she mumbled one of her "excuse me's" with extra softness. Saitou expected her to shut the door and leave him for the evening, but when the door did shut, he turned to see her standing in his room no more than a few feet away. Puzzled, he glanced around and noticed that his futon was especially wide and that it was graced by two pillows instead of one.
When he looked back at her, it was not with surprise but with consideration. "How much extra did Okita pay your manager for your service?"
She clasped her hands in front of her and lowered her head. "I was not told."
He found it strange how lifeless she was in reaction to her duty. "What is your name?"
Her eyes were wide and innocent as she started and met him gaze for gaze for the first time since the Shinsengumi had come to the Sumiya Inn. Those outstanding eyes in addition to the golden strands of her hair made her look exotic in the lantern light of the room. "Tokio," she answered after several moments of silence.
Saitou realized as he had not before that it was not with shyness that she spoke. There was nothing timid about this young woman; but she was reserved, like him, and prone to softness. She possessed a gentle air that he had not been able to recognize after being drenched in blood for so long. When he repeated her name, it was with unprecedented respect. "Tokio."
"I wish to sleep," he told her firmly. Though she appeared doubtful of him at first, he went on. "Have you no room of your own?"
Tokio shook her head, and the gold in her hair rippled. "It was expected that I would be sleeping here. My bed was given to a newer servant."
Honesty fueled that response, the Third Division captain noted. Had he not posed a question and simply said, "Go to your own room for the night," he suspected that she would have left him to go sleep in the garden or some other such unfit place. Nodding, he turned away from her and pulled down the comforter of his futon.
"Very well," he finally said. "You will sleep next to me. But do not touch me, for I am a light sleeper and may kill you in the night."
Whether he had been joking or not (and it truthfully was a mystery to her), Tokio took him seriously. After shuttering the lanterns, she reached up and removed the chopsticks that bound her hair on top of her head. Slivers of moonlights that flowed in through the blinded window washed over her and turned the unique strands of her hair to silver. She lay down beside him on the futon without a word. Tokio was especially careful to avoid touching his katana, which was between them. Saitou was closest to the wall, where he preferred to be in tight sleeping arrangements, but she took up very little room. Indeed, she was so motionless and small in the dark that he may have been able to forget her presence altogether except that—
"You have a scent of sakura (5) on you." The statement was spoken in a monotone, but Saitou involuntarily took a deeper breath as he closed his eyes in preparation to sleep.
After nearly a full minute of silence, she responded carefully. "The fragrance is made for good money at my home. It comforts me to wear it."
"The summer is nearly ended," he murmured, his voice beginning to sound far away as unconsciousness loomed near. In his state, curiosity was unusually great in his mind. "Where do you come from that the sakura can still be scented long after spring has gone?"
If Tokio replied, she did not do so quickly enough for Saitou to hear it, for the weariness of his overworked body at last caught up with him, and sleep claimed him for a nighttime victim.
Saitou Hajime was an early riser, but his late night had forced him to take an extra hour of sleep. He woke just as the sun rose and the daytime bustle of Kyoto had just begun to buzz outside. Through the walls of the inn, he could hear fish merchants calling to potential customers and the chatter of gossiping women on the streets.
Before even opening his eyes, he smelled the sakura fragrance that the servant girl Tokio wore. Yet when Saitou fully woke and gazed about the room, he saw Tokio gone and a steaming breakfast tray awaiting his attention. He could almost imagine the girl there, bowing respectfully and saying, "For your use."
He reflected on the previous night as he ate morning sashimi and drank miso soup with fresh green tea. He did not touch the bowl of rice as Saitou had a peculiar habit of never eating rice before the afternoon. Tokio was a name he did not know, but that didn't stop him from remembering her from…somewhere.
Before he could get much farther than that, an energetic rap on his doorframe accompanied a cheerful, "Saitou-kun! I have orders from Kondou-sama (6)!" In Saitou's opinion, Okita's voice was too loud for the early morning. "Dress yourself and we will go out tonight."
Whereas some men might announce a planned nighttime outing with a visit to a teahouse in mind, there was no promise of fun from a Shinsengumi captain…unless, of course, one's idea of fun was bloodshed. And sometimes, there were such men, but Saitou was not one of them.
Part of him was relieved that they would be returning to duty now. He felt most comfortable when he was of use. However, another part of him – the part that knew he needed rest – argued against hitting the Kyoto alleys. Saitou ignored that part, as he often did.
During the day, Saitou sharpened his katana and discussed plans with Okita; where they would send how many men, which members of the Shogunate were present in Kyoto, whom needed how much protection.
"The daimyo (7) of Edo, Matsudaira Hiroshi-sama," Okita said later when they sat in the garden, "is staying at the Tawaraya Inn halfway across town. He returns to Edo tomorrow, which leads me to believe that tonight he shall be targeted. And since Matsudaira-sama is the most guarded man in Kyoto right now…" Okita smiled directly at Saitou. "This is the only chance that the hitokiri Battousai has to slay him for the Ishin-Shishi."
"And you suppose I will meet him tonight during our rounds?" supplied Saitou when Okita said nothing further.
"Ah, I do indeed know better than to suppose anything in my condition, Saitou-kun. Kyoto is much like a massive game these days, with both the Shogunate and the Ishin-Shishi so desperate as this war draws to an end. Both sides are in a hurry to win." Shaking his head, Okita sipped from a cup of cool water. Glancing at the sky, he added, "But I do wish the day was shorter. Fortunately our work is done after the moon rises. It is certainly too hot for killing right now!"
Saitou did not reply, but he stood up and prepared to go in.
Okita laughed. "What's wrong, Saitou-kun? Did you not like the girl I paid for last night? Do let me know, I thought about trying her myself."
"You should not touch her." Saitou heard himself say the words before he had realized he'd thought them. "Okita…don't."
"Oh? Why not?"
Saitou wondered why not. "I've found use of her," he said when he could think of nothing else. She is much quieter than the other chirping girls in this ryokan."
Okita grinned. "Is that all? Perhaps the heat has gotten to your head, Saitou-kun. You're almost conversational today. But don't worry. I'm trusting that tonight the blood of the Battousai will cool you down." He held up his cup of water. "To quiet girls, right? Haha!" He had a long laugh that eventually turned into a coughing fit. Afterward, he said nothing and Saitou left him sitting by the small garden pond.
At the prospect of fighting again tonight, Saitou felt a return of normalcy. He eagerly awaited nightfall in hopes that order would return where the woman Tokio had scattered it.
End of Part One.
To be continued in Part Two: Sakura Memory.
Feedback is always appreciated!
1) Kashitaro Ito: The Shinsengumi's military advisor.
2) Nagakura Shinpachi: Captain of the Shinsengumi's Second Division.
3) Ryokan: Traditional Japanese hotel. They are known for their efficiency.
4) Okami: Manager at a ryokan
5) Sakura: Cherry blossoms or cherry trees. The blossoms of the tree are a beautiful color of pink or white but the spring petals fall very quickly to be replaced by green leaves of summer.
6) Kondou Isami: The Commander of the Shinsengumi.
7) Daimyo: Feudal rulers during the Edo period.